There are, of course, many fears worth fearing - a whole range of things I should run screaming from, should have nightmares about, and should pass on to my yet unborn children.
For instance - trains. I have reoccurring nightmares about trains. Getting chased by a train... a train going through my house... having to redirect train tracks before a train crashes into me...
I am also, sadly, a pathetic woman who perpetuates a stereotype of being irrationally terrified and disgusted by bugs. I have forced my husband to kill countless spiders while I sit at a safe distance whining and squirming. And I can't. even. talk. about. centipedes.
And, as most of us, I have serious fears too. I worry that some power tool will run amok and injure Hubby. Or that something will happen to Tuxedo or Patches. Or that my house will burn down. And I'm obviously not a fan of snakes or rodents.
But I have one particular fear that haunts me; that is truly upsetting; that really stirs me to my core.
Getting sprayed by a skunk would really threaten the stability of my sanity.
I'm not sure what actually is the worst part about that thought. Well, sure I am. It's the goddam smell.
I can imagine it would sting my eyes and burn my nose. And would it hurt my skin? And what about my clothes? What if I were wearing really nice clothes that I loved? Or wearing my most comfortable pajamas? (The logic of this fear tells me that I would probably be wearing pajamas because skunks are nocturnal and if I were to encounter one, it would be at night - probably venturing outside to put the garbage out or something. But that's where it gets irrational - because I don't put the garbage out. Not that it just piles up in my house. My husband does it. I probably make him do it for fear of encountering a Godforsaken skunk.) My clothes would be ruined. And my hair. I'd have to shave it off. You'd never get the smell out. It'd be like the BO beast on Seinfeld. And I couldn't even go inside after. Someone would have to spray me down with the hose (not that it'd help.) I'd be laying in a post-traumatic ball in the grass yelling at the windows for someone to come rescue me. Yep. The smell is the worst part.
But it's not just the smell. It's their evil little eyes and pointy nose. They kinda seem, if you're not thinking about it too much, like they oughta be friendly. Like a mixture between a cat and a beaver. But don't be fooled by the fuzzy exterior and childhood memories of their romantic Parisian kin. They're actually more like a mixture between a ferret (yes I understand some people love ferrets - I'm not one of them) and those huge overgrown rats from The Princess Bride. Terrifying.
None of this, though, is even that bad compared to one fact - the skunk has ALL the power. It knows I'm more afraid of it than it is of me. I'm convinced that stench is not really a defense mechanism as much as it is a power trip - like the US building nuclear weapons. And once a skunk gets me, there's nothing I can do. And no going back. My life will never be the same. Once he waddles up and posies his dirty ass in my direction - POOF - I'm done for.
My only hope is that his stench would give him away.
But even if I could smell him, how would I know where the stink was emitting from? The skunk is a lurker. A sidler. And he blends into the shadows. It's not like I can say "Ok, Mr. Effing Skunk... Come out, come out wherever you are... tell me when I'm getting warmer." I wouldn't have a chance.
Yep. It's decided. There are lots of fears worth fearing; lots of things I should really be spending my time worrying about. But skunks top the list.